Lady Trojans stay cool, edge WIC
Pardon my reach! Forest Park’s Jenna Grabowski helps herself to the ball, as the Wykons’ Eden Golliher tries to play keepaway.
IRON RIVER—Try finding a basketball coach who doesn’t put a heavy emphasis on experience and poise in pressure situations. Forest Park Lady Trojans coach Jackie Giuliani certainly isn’t one of them.
In her opening comments after her team’s hard-fought 32-30 win over West Iron County on Feb. 9 at Charles Greenlund Gymnasium, that’s what the third-year varsity coach keyed in on.
“We have more experience on varsity, more experience in these types of games,” said Giuliani of her squad that started four seniors and a junior in her second year of varsity play. “I didn’t see any fear in my team’s eyes, even though we were down by one with 30 seconds to go.
“I saw them saying, ‘There’s lots of time, we’ve got this.’ I think that was huge for us. I think when you have a young team like West Iron, they’re not sure how to respond to that. So, I think that our veteran team kind of prevailed in that situation.”
West Iron coach Mike Dallavalle concurred.
“We’ve got some young kids, and you can tell in the passing and the shooting a little bit at the end where maybe they shot it a little too hard because they were a little excited or too open or kind of tightened up when there was a hand in their face.
“We were in a position where if we held onto the ball and made a free throw, we might have been able to win the game.”
The battle between rivals was intense and competitive throughout, though Forest Park (13-3) came into the game with three times as many wins as West Iron (4-11). But records often don’t mean much when the two schools hit the hardwood for the next installment of the long-time series.